by , Jun 20, 2007 | 11:10 am

LAS VEGAS–Good morning. I’m just getting ready to go to bed. The sun’s been up for just a few hours, and it’s already over 100 degrees. But inside the Rio … about negative 64. So friggin’ cold, especially in the cash-games area, from whence I just came. They cool down the Amazon Room and surrounding hallways overnight in preparation for the onslaught of warm poker bodies that arrive each day a little before noon … and/or to sell more WSOP sweatshirts.

Anyhow, late last night, Pauly was up bouncing around the Amazon Room in his off-time and Otis had just re-arrived back in town. I had work to do, of course, but the three of us had yet to find time to geek out all pokerbloggy since arriving at the 2007 WSOP, so it was time to make time … and off to the Hooker bar we went. Inspiring and refreshing, to say the least, as we traded poker-blog war stories, tales of SEO, and reminisces about the “good ole days” of 2006.

We must have been appearing to have too much fun, because a few drinks into it all, we were joined by a traveling WSOP circuit dealer, Brian “the Rookie” Wilson, Otis’ friend Mark, and Jim McManus, who was a little down on his game.

“I make way more from writing these days than I do playing poker, that’s for sure,” he said. Funny how just a year ago this exact same sentence might have a completely different meaning.

As the night whittled on, Pauly left us to go whip up a poignant recap of yesterday’s crazy yet meaningful action, as Otis, Mark and I returned to the Amazon Room to play poker. You can always count on a few drunks to sit down at the dwindling WSOP cash tables at about 4 in the morning to keep the chips flying, and last night that was us. Not surprisingly, the three of us would rebuy several times playing $2/$5 NLH, and within a couple hours, collectively we were stuck nearly $2,500, at which point I switched to coffee.

Linda the Dallas dealer had my table for a while — it was great to see her for the first time of the Series. “Just like back home,” she said, smirking as she shipped a pot I lost to the other end of the table.

Mark would end up busting out for a final time, while Otis and I stuck around to grind our way back towards even. I was getting there, too, until I flopped an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. The turn gave me the nut straight and a straight-flush draw. I was bummed when my opponent and I couldn’t get it all-in at that point, but I guess I was lucky, because while I caught my flush on the river, the other guy caught quads, and I was not in a position to raise his bet. Don’t even get me started about the possible collusion we witnessed between a plump American black lady and a skinny British white guy who were playing together unbeknown to the rest of us, until they cashed out together and gave each other a hug and a kiss at the cage.

I was heavily involved in their last hand. The British guy and I had built a pot to more than $600 when I missed my 17 gajillion outs on the river. He put me all-in for my last $72, and though mathematically I was supposed to call, I couldn’t bring myself to do it with just third pair, knowing if I lost, I was definitely not going to rebuy again. (Because I had no more 100s on me.) The black lady seated to my right belligerently encouraged me to call, and then called clock on me. I eventually mucked, and was pleased when the skinny white dude mucked his cards, presumably telling me that I made the correct play.

That’s when they both cashed out in celebration. And then as he exited the room, the not-so-chappy Brit came up behind me and whispered, “You couldn’t beat pocket 6s?” What an asshole, because yes, I could. So what, he’s trying to put me on tilt even after he has left the table with my money?

I did my best to remain unfazed, and sure enough I began to climb back out of the hole. As the wee hours became morning and almost tournament time, Otis and I were at adjacent tables motioning to each other where we stood in terms of getting unstuck. I was in for $700, he was in for $1,200. And both of us were playing our asses off more sober than before. With my fancy little bankroll graph in the back of my mind, I finally took control of my short-handed, reduced-rake table — with a solid read on the Euro to my right and ability to bluff the gay cowboy to my left with ease. Perhaps the only mistake I made here was getting up from a table I could beat, but it was so late, so early … I was exhausted, and for the first time in more than five hours, I was up.

Buy-in(s): $700 (3)
Cash out: $979
Net: +$279

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